I like finding out about things that are a bit different. There are some incredibly talented builders out there, and those numbers are constantly growing, which makes it absolutely amazing for us players out there. Sooooo many options. If you have an itch, some builder can scratch it. The hard part.. finding those builders. One builder that caught my creative attention was Boredbrain Music.Â They make something interesting – a 8 channel mini patchbay for routing effects to experiment with the signal flow called the Patchulator 8000.
Everyone knows that routing is pretty crucial when setting up a board. You can follow traditional routing, you know – the rule of thumb of how effects generally flow. Once you have things set, it’s a pain to experiment. What happens if I put that verb in front of the fuzz? It would involve moving the pedals around. What happens if I want to really change things around, that’s basically re-doing the board. With the Patchulator 8000 you can route things very easily to achieve all sorts of experimenting.
Check out this great video showing some of the possibilities that can be had with the Patchulator:
I had a chance to send a few questions to the guys at Boredbrain Music, this is what they had to say:
What inspired Borebrain Music and the idea for the Patchulator 8000?
We grew up playing cheap guitars and department store keyboards, using old mixers and beat-up pedals, recording with crap microphones into four track recorders, anything that we could find or afford really. We would just connect one thing to this, and another to that until it sounded cool, then we hit record. It was great.
These days we do pretty much the same thing, and our music sessions are spent plugging “this” into “that” to make weird and original sounds, but musical ones of course. This constant experimentation with the sequence of instruments and effects led not only to some insane sounding shit, but also a huge mess of cables that literally made our brains hurt.
While we are both experienced gear-heads, and one of us even worked as a recording engineer in a commercial studio for several years, we are certainly aware of and have used rack-mount patchbays quite extensively. And for rack-mounted effects, they’re indispensable! But like many musicians, we have gear of all shapes and sizes, placed on the desk, on the floor, all over the place. Yet for pedalboards, using a rack-mounted patchbay is by no means convenient. Even worse, unbalanced cable-runs to and from effects and the rack are like little antennas picking up unwanted noise. Our messes were getting unruly and experimentation was cumbersome, so eventually we had to stop banging our heads against the wall and do something about it.
The idea for a small-form patchbay came upon us rather intuitively, and after a few sketches and several hours with some tools, we had a simple but extremely useful little box. Our mini patchbay quickly transformed the way we connected our gear and created music, while we continued to improve the design and quality with each iteration. It was obvious on the message boards that there were other bored-brain musicians who really needed this, so we figured we should share our creation with them. In late October 2015, as Boredbrain Music, we started selling the Patchulator 8000.
Generally, patchbays are more common with keyboardists and recording engineers. How can guitarists benefit from integrating a patchbay into their creative processes?
We feel that many guitarists have become bored with the same old chains of effects, playing through them over and over and over. You know there’s a world of possibilities out there, but once your pedalboard is configured, it can be a headache to change it, so you kinda just keep playing with the same sounds. It’s almost like a painter having only one brush, so he keeps painting in the same color cause washing it out would be a real bitch. Lately we’ve noticed more and more discussion about the “right way” to arrange your guitar pedals. While we agree there are some configurations that work better than others, if used effectively, the pedalboard patchbay can really get your brainwaves flowing, and begin to erode those preconceptions about pedal order. We are constantly surprised by the tonal variety that can be created, even with the simplest of pedals. With only 8 patch cables and 8 channels, the Patchulator 8000 allows for a meager 109,600 different patch combinations without rewiring your pedalboard, so let’s get patching.
What type of musician would be into the Patchulator 8000?
Gear junkies, pedal nerds, synth freaks and musicians who want to find their own unique tones will definitely dig it. That’s who we want to reach. While we have nothing against classic tones, and we certainly understand the never-ending chase to achieve them, this product wasn’t designed with that in mind. And so we hope this simple patchbay will help free musicians from tonal stereotypes, while keeping music fun and always moving forward, one patch at a time.
Where are you located?
We’re originally from and currently live in Richmond, Virginia, an interesting city rich in history with a beautiful river, tons of art, an active music scene, lots of beer drinking and a bunch of weirdos. While Virginia has old roots in folk music, we’ve also produced our share of successful contemporary artists that cover a wide range of musical genres. Richmond is the birthplace of a shit-load of punk-rock and hardcore bands, including Gwar, Avail, Strike Anywhere, Smoke Or Fire, Municipal Waste and even Lamb Of God. We tend to like things a bit dirty and a bit “off” down here, and that is often reflected in our personalities and in the things we make. The Patchulator 8000 is no exception.
Any notable musicians using the Patchulator 8000?
There’s a rumor going around that Lady Gaga is working on a stunning new outfit made entirely of disassembled Patchulators, but I’m not sure if that qualifies as “using” it. But seriously, being that it is new, we’re working to get it into the hands of the right artists and musicians.
Do you have any new designs in the works? If so, what do you have cooking?
We have a “mental” list of much-needed musical solutions that we think are no-brainers, and the Patchulator 8000 is just one of them. You can be sure that the next thing from Boredbrain Music will be something we needed ourselves, and something needed by others. In the mean time, mind your music.
Very cool stuff! You can see what Boredbrain Music is all about by checking out the links below:
Website – http://www.boredbrainmusic.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/boredbrain
Twitter – https://twitter.com/boredbrainmusic
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/boredbrainmusic
YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSlv73E0bChVwLdMLKvB-AQ?sub_confirmation=1
5 years ago
Thanks for the great article! I found it while looking for a way toReply
“Complete” my pedalboard. I looked into it and found out the latest
version of the Patchulator 8000 is STEREO! I emailed them to see
how I could ensure to get the stereo version and bought it directly
from them. I love it! I play the Chapman Stick so the options for routing
more than one stereo chain was exactly what I wanted. Better still – I
Use the Xotic Stereo X Blender to merge stereo chains (with blend
control!) back into the Patchulator to share chosen effects, then out
to speakers in one stereo chain. The two together are priceless. The
Stereo X-Blender also takes a mono signal then sends back stereo so
acts as another point to change mono signal path to my stereo path.
You can also use a mono 1/8″ to stereo 1/8″ adapter on top to convert
signal path too. Presently I am using both.
Already I can’t imaging my pedalboard with it. I am writing this because of the gratitude I feel toward Boredbrain.
One happy customer. I had to feature the Patchulator as part of my first demo video of my new board on YouTube and have been getting great response (not many knew about The Patchulator).
If you are interested I can send you the link to see how I am using it… I won’t post it here unless ask too ( not saying any of this just for views).
Again -Thank You for the Article!
5 years ago
Jason, we’re so glad you enjoy the Patchulator, and your videos are awesome!Reply